CLIPPERS LOOK TO IMPROVE ON GLASS
PLAYA VISTA–Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro targeted two points of emphasis Tuesday when it comes to fixing what has ailed his team in their recent two-game slide: taking care of the basketball and rebounding.
Following the team’s two-hour morning practice and film session, Del Negro said, “Our rebounding at the offensive end is not good and our rebounding overall. Our turnovers, the last couple of games especially, have really hurt us. We’ve got to sure those areas up. We’ve got to get bodies on people and stop throwing the ball all over the place and we need a little bit more discipline with the basketball.”
The Clippers (2-2) had 16 turnovers in their 114-110 loss to Golden State Saturday and committed 25 Monday in a seven-point loss to the Cavaliers. Not taking care of the ball has been compounded by allowing their opponents extra looks at the basket. The Cavaliers, for example, attempted 92 field goals as compared to 78 for the Clippers and out-rebounded L.A. 18-9 on the offensive glass.
“We’ve got to be better at defensive rebounding and offensive rebounding,” center Ryan Hollins said. “We’ve got to come together as a team. Our bigs [need] to make a conscious effort to box out or get in. We’re watching film and that’s the greatest thing about film is that it doesn’t lie. We can get in and focus on the film and do what we need to do. There are some situations where the guards can cover down to help us and sometimes we just have to go get the ball.”
The Clippers have been out-rebounded by their opponents in all four games, leading to a -6.50 rebound differential. In two losses they have incurred a combined 91-71 disadvantage (34-16 offensive).
Del Negro echoed Hollins saying it will take a team effort to fix the problem. “It’s not just our big guys we need our guards to get in there and rebound. It’s a team thing, so we’ve got to do a better job.”
When asked whether or not the team’s emphasis on playing more up-tempo has caused players to leak out early rather than crashing the boards, Del Negro said, “A little bit, but you can’t push the tempo unless you have the ball. It’s one thing at a time, you’ve got to get the ball to run. We’ve got a couple of guys doing that [leaking out], and we need our guards to get in there.”
GRIFFIN DEALING WITH A SORE NECK AND RIGHT ELBOW
After practice Del Negro talked about Blake Griffin’s right elbow and neck, which have both been bothering the Clippers’ big man.
“His neck’s been stiff and he got hit a little bit in practice today,” Del Negro said. “His elbow is a concern, his neck is a concern. But Blake’s a tough kid. He’ll fight through it and give us what he can give us.”
Griffin wore a white padded sleeve on his right arm in Monday’s game against the Cavaliers, the first time he’s done so since last season.
“There’s no question [the elbow’s] irritating him a little bit,” Del Negro said. “If you’ve got a bunch of fluid in your elbow it’s going to bother you. He’ll fight through it and give us what he can.”
Del Negro added that Griffin has dealt with issues in the elbow at various times in his career. “This is a little bit worse [than the past], a little bit more swelling. He’s had that for a long time, but this time it seems to be a little bit more than normal.”
Griffin hurt his neck during practice Tuesday when he collided with Ronny Turiaf under the basket. According to Del Negro, Griffin did not return to practice after the injury.
“He kind of hurt his neck a little bit and I took him out,” Del Negro said. “He got hit hard, so he sat out the rest of it.”